Kicevo - A case study of Ohrid Agreement implementation - January 2006
In 2002 ESI published a report on Kicevo in Western Macedonia: Ahmeti's village. The political economy of interethnic relations in Macedonia. The Kicevo area, home to ethnic Macedonians and Albanians along with smaller groups of Turks and Roma, has not witnessed communal violence for decades. It even remained peaceful in 2001 during Macedonia's conflict. Although ethnic Macedonians and Albanians live largely separate lives, the tradition of inter-ethnic coexistence could be preserved.
However, the report found that Kicevo's "ethnic groups are undergoing deep social changes which are pushing them along widely divergent paths. It is a pattern of development (and decline) which seems programmed to generate inter-ethnic suspicion and fear." The report explored the difficulties lying ahead in implementing the Ohrid Agreement of 2001 and concluded that "any credible strategy must begin from the recognition that the underlying causes of insecurity – the collapse of Macedonia's industrial society, the weakness of its new private sector, the absence of a responsive state in many parts of the country – remain as acute as ever. When economic collapse becomes coupled with ethnic mobilisation, it makes for a uniquely combustible combination".
Three and a half years later we look again at Kicevo to examine how the implementation of the Ohrid agreement has played out. What has been achieved and which challenges remain?